Why Texas wants to be the headquarters of ARPA-H – MedCity News

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MedCity Influencers, Opinion
By Wayne Roberts

Nobel prize-winning Texan Dr. Jim Allison changed cancer treatment forever by revealing how to harness the human immune system. Researchers at the University of Texas were successful in the decoding and 3D structure mapping of the spike protein that was critical in the development of safe and effective Covid-19 vaccines. Texas researchers Doctors Mike Brown and Joe Goldstein were awarded a Nobel Prize for their research on cholesterol metabolism that led to the development of statin drugs. Researchers at the Baylor College of Medicine were successful in the decoding of the human genome. These discoveries are among the most important advances in modern medicine.
Transformative breakthroughs like these are the mission of the Advanced Research Projects Agency for Health (ARPA-H). This new agency will forever change our healthcare system for the better and save lives with advancements in biomedical research.
Examining the motivations of cities and states seeking to house the agency headquarters is warranted since ARPA-H is indeed a once-in-a-lifetime initiative. However, Texas and the health and biosciences institutions located here fully understand that ARPA-H is a rare opportunity to make fundamental improvements to our nation’s health care system and improve the lives of all Americans. This is our motivation, not expanding Texas’s economy.
Because of Texas’s top research institutions, immense talent pool, and centralized location, our state has a long history of supporting health advancement projects originating from all over the country and delivering health care to meet the needs of a wide range of communities. That is why Texas is uniquely positioned to help ARPA-H achieve its mission of addressing health inequities nationwide, and worldwide.
Texas is home to some of the top medical organizations in the world like the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT), The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, The University of Texas and Texas A&M University Systems, Baylor College of Medicine, the Texas Medical Center, Texas Tech University System, and the Texas Healthcare and Bioscience Institute.
We know what this new agency’s work consists of, what its structure will be, and its significance. This is why Texas was the first state to engage with the National Institutes of Health and the Administration offering to partner in its success— to start a dialogue regarding the best possible environment for this historical initiative.
Texas already has the ideal facilities to house ARPA-H NOW. We have the immediate resources to address every critical need of ARPA-H and act as both an incubator and a catalyst for health research projects throughout the country.
The Lone Star State has eleven Tier One research institutions and some of the leading Hispanic and historically Black colleges and universities in the nation. Texas produces tens of thousands of graduates in key health- and data-related fields every year and is growing in skilled and diverse talent at a rate faster than any other state in America.
Demographically, Texas is the most diverse state in the nation, with many of the most diverse cities as well: Houston, Dallas, San Antonio, Arlington, and Fort Worth all rank in the top 25 most diverse cities in the country.
Texas has the right environment to help ARPA-H achieve its promise of eliminating existing deficiencies in our national biomedical ecosystem, promoting the integration of multiple disciplines and institutions, and fully addressing persistent inequities in America’s health system. We want ARPA-H here because any objective evaluation reveals that Texas logically is the right location.

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Wayne Roberts is the Chief Executive Officer of the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas and a co-founder of Coalition for Health Advancement and Research in Texas (CHART).
CHART is made up of representatives of Texas’ bioscience, medical, technology, and healthcare institutions that believe ARPA-H should be fully supported and located in Texas and are ready to help achieve that end
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